Music, illness and fatigue

Sheet Music

Originally uploaded by Anna-B

The two reasons I listen to so much music:

One: Music is humanity’s highest achievement.
Two: I’m tired and sickly.

A 2006 study showed that listening to music can reduce chronic pain and depression. Well, duh.

I don’t have chronic pain so much as lack of energy, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping. I use music to manipulate my energy level.

I can soothe my nerves and calm my heart rate by listening to Anonymous 4 singing Hildegard Von Bingen’s medieval compositions. (Scientists have some interesting hypotheses about music and heartrate; I recommend the linked article, but disregard the misleading headline.)

I like a hypnotic groove for workouts, so that I hardly notice the physical effort, like Issa Bagayogo’s earthy electronic Malian pop.

I may be barely able to drag myself out of bed some weekends, but I never get bored. Music brings me infinite worlds of feelings, experiences, and ideas, especially because I explore so many diverse kinds of music. And thanks to the Internet, of course, the amazing music delivery system that I’ve almost learned to take for granted.

And if I had no other reason for living, the ability to hear the works of Johann Sebastian Bach would be enough. Even, say, only Pablo Casals performing the Cello Suites.

Maya Angelou wrote, “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

What do you listen to when you’re down, tired or ill? Do you have favorite “comfort music”?